Normally I don't write so much about what happens in my day-to-day life, but this Gymboree playgroup thing is screaming to be written about. So thanks for my indulgence. I'll get to more toys and stuff later this week.
So yesterday we went to our second "class" at Gymboree. This time there weren't any dads though, just moms and one female nanny. But whatever. I was cool with it. It isn't a support group, just a chance for my kid to roll around on some cool indoor crawling stuff and maybe get socialized with some other kids.
About a half hour into it the instructor (if you can call her that - really just a girl about 19) gets everyone to come back to sit in a circle with their kids. Then she says, "OK grownups (you're not a parent or a mom or dad or an adult at Gymboree, you're a "grownup"), the topic of discussion is "stress."
What? "The topic of discussion?" Stress? When did this turn into some sort of weird 12 step for parents thing? They didn't do this the last class. Can't we get back to climbing up the ramp and going down the slide??
Now keep in mind my baby is right in front of me trying to crawl away, so I figure I'll just pay attention to her and kind of hope no one asks me to join in. Some of the moms make jokes about alcohol being a good stress reliever (no argument here), but most complain about their husbands and how they don't help out enough when they get home from work.
Great. I'm pretty sure the closest other dude is the guy making egg rolls at the Chinese restaurant next door, and the last thing I want to do is be the spokesman for men. So I keep on focusing on my daughter, but no amount of ignoring what's going on helps, and finally the instructor looks at me and asks, "How about you? How do you deal with stress?"
In the moment I figured, well, if you can't join them, the least you can do is make them feel jealous. So this is what I said:
"Well actually when Madame's mom comes home from work she's raring to spend time with her, so she takes on most of the responsibility before bedtime. And then on the weekends it's pretty much the same thing, and I get time to myself then too. So it works out pretty well. Plus the baby's perfect so I've got that going for me."
Ha! Take that four moms and one nanny! Your casual laughter at my joke about my kid being perfect belies your true envy. It's not just my kid, MY LIFE IS PERFECT!!!
I have to admit that even though it was all true, it was a hollow victory. Typically I always think of something better to say about a half hour later, and sure enough, on my way back to the car it occurred to me that maybe I should have been more direct (and equally honest):
"How do I deal with stress? Well, I internalize it mostly, and when my wife comes home I pick a fight her. Then after dinner I go upstairs, get drunk and play video games. Oh, and sometimes the next day I'll write about it on the Internet. But that's just me."